With the rapid pace of technological change within the automotive sector, suppliers are required to speedily identify and embed critical skills to secure global competitiveness. On top of this, the realisation of the objectives of the South African Automotive Masterplan 2035 is dependent on a sound skills base within the sector. Currently, the presence of numerous skills and occupation gaps across the country’s automotive sector are proving to be a cross-cutting barrier to localisation. Without adequate skills, companies are unable to embed technology, raw material and testing infrastructure which prevents greater localisation.

Recognising the importance of skills, the Sector Education Training Authority (SETA) system specifically partners with industry to ensure the design and delivery of skills promote industry growth and competitiveness. Despite the various SETAs offering support for manufacturers, many automotive suppliers are unsure how to leverage these mechanisms. Recent data indicates that only 10% of firms in the sector apply for discretionary grants.

A focus area for the National Association of Automotive Components and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) is to support its members to embed a firm-level capacity to better leverage SETA funding, enhance relationships with TVET colleges and promote greater transformation. As such, the High Gear project, implemented by IYF and supported by NAACAM and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), has established a High Gear SETA Grant Advisory service. The service will advise NAACAM members on SETA grant application processes  and encourage a more impactful use of SETA funds to support transformation and localisation in the sector, including through increased linkages to the public TVET college system.

The SETA Grant Advisory Service is funded by the UK Government’s Skills for Prosperity Programme and is currently only available for NAACAM members in KwaZulu-Natal, with the potential for expansion to other regions based on demand. The High Gear programme of activity follows the key role played by NAACAM in 2020 in advocating for, and driving the set up of an automotive components chamber within the MerSETA, which is the primary SETA for manufacturing related entities.

As part of this service, the High Gear SETA Best Practice Guide has been developed by the High Gear Team in collaboration with NAACAM Associate member, Engeli Enterprise Development, and WomHub. The Guide provides companies practical advice about the funding options are available through the SETA; how to successfully leverage them to support transformation (including gender equity) and localisation; and the required governance and reporting procedures that follow.

Additional High Gear SETA Grant Advisory services include:

  • Tailored information sharing sessions on SETA discretionary and mandatory grants for NAACAM members
  • For qualifying companies*, delivery of a tailored advisory service related to SETA applications, Workplace Skills Plan, and Annual Training Report submissions
  • For qualifying companies*, delivery of a B-BBEE gap analysis and associated recommendations that can be furthered through SETA grants.

*Please contact the High Gear team to find out if you are a qualifying company

“Through our engagements with NAACAM member companies, it is clear that many company executives place a high value on the development of critical technical skills to support the growth and expansion of their businesses. However, in encountering a myriad of business. However, whilst most are aware that SETA support does exist, they remain unsure on how to access and utilise it. The introduction of the High Gear SETA Grant Advisory Service offers a practical mechanism for our members to support their skills development objectives, and ultimately, remove a large cross-cutting barrier to localisation and global competitiveness,” says NAACAM Commercial Director, Shivani Singh